Creating candidate relationships with AI

Modern talent acquisition leaders are all too familiar with the experience of drowning in resumes, yet not finding the right fit for a key role. Complicating this problem, recruiters are continually burdened with administrative tasks that consume the time they could be using to create valuable candidate relationships.

Recent studies reveal that nearly 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience. A large factor contributing to this is the notorious ‘resume black hole’ – where candidates apply for a job and never hear back. In fact, an alarming 75-99% of resumes received are never viewed by human eyes. Against this backdrop, it’s hardly surprising that candidates feel unappreciated and disconnected. This is the pain point we are addressing in this post.

Ironically, it is the human connection that applicants sorely miss. Human beings are biologically wired for connection. Our brains act as social organs, with synchronised neural oscillations regulating our interaction with others. We build relationships based on a careful exchange of verbal and non-verbal signals — a complex dance of glances, gestures, and words that build trust and rapport.

However, could it be possible for an artificial intelligence to form these connections? Could an AI, powered by machine learning, improve the candidate experience and even create ‘relationships’ through machine-human interactions? Recent advances suggest the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

I would add that in my personal experience, as I read through the transcripts of AI conversations with candidates, I can indeed see the psychology at work and candidates engagement level with the virtual recruiter increase as the conversation progresses. This made me curious about the psychology of how relationships are formed.

On the psychology of relationship formation, multiple studies show that relationships are based around conversations and positive reinforcement. This fosters a sense of being ‘understood,’ a crucial factor in forming lasting connections. AI, specifically its subfield of Natural Language Processing (NLP), is astounding in its ability to have human-like text conversations, understand context, and phrase responses in a way that ‘feels’ human. Furthermore, reinforcement learning, another subfield of AI, allows the system to adapt and tailor its responses to get positive candidate feedback – the same way humans adjust their words and gestures to foster better conversations and camaraderie.

Moreover, machine learning algorithms excel at remaining curious – meaning they ask targeted questions based on prior knowledge while being able to smoothly integrate new information, thus making the conversation feel dynamic and real. This innate curiosity might make AIs more consistent communicators compared to humans, as they are free from mood swings and fatigue.

Given these attributes, it seems plausible to posit that AI holds the potential to create significantly more positive candidate experiences than traditional recruitment methods. The ubiquitous resume black hole scenario is reduced, the conversations are positive, engaging and consistent, leading the candidate to feel a level of positivity, affirmation and clarity they may not have experienced before. The inevitable question then is: with enough of these positive experiences, will the candidate form an emotional connection to this intelligent software?

Many of us already form attachments to inanimate objects (such as cars or homes). If a non-living, non-communicating object can elicit such feelings, can a highly interactive, intelligent, positive and understanding AI elicit stronger emotions?

This does not suggest that AI will entirely eliminate the need for human recruiters. Recruiters possess the irreplaceable capacity for nuance, empathy and gut instinct. Yet, AI could replace many of the repetitive, time-consuming aspects of sourcing and initial engagement, enhancing rather than replacing the recruiter’s role.

Machine learning and AI technology are bringing a paradigm shift in the recruitment sphere. By embracing this change, we open the doors to a more efficient, candidate-centric future where recruiters can focus on highly valuable and meaningful tasks, and candidates feel understood, valued and positive. As we march towards this AI-enhanced future, one thing is certain – talent acquisition will never be the same again.